ORANGE residents and visitors alike are missing out on one of nature’s greatest attractions because Mount Canobolas is continually closed to the public during periods of snow.
That’s the opinion of Simmo’s Offroad Tours business owner Greg Simpson, who’s urging Cabonne Council staff to reconsider the “lockout” policy.
“Snow is such a beautiful attraction and it’s so unique and special to Orange it seems a shame the mountain is closed the few days of the year that it actually does snow,” he said.
“We should be embracing our uniqueness - not shutting it off.”
Mr Simpson was adamant that experienced four-wheel drive (4WD) users could access the mountain safely, and believes they should be exempt during periods of snow.
“I’d propose that the roads be open to 4WD drivers only because there’s plenty of capable vehicles and drivers that could get to the top of Mount Canobolas safely,” he said.
“I’ve just been to Mount Perisher and it’s 1700 metres above sea level, which is 300 metres higher than Canobolas and there’s thousands of cars that drive there daily and safely.
“We’re missing out in Orange.”
Cabonne Council spokesperson Dale Jones said the reason for closing Mount Canobolas during snow was simple - it’s all in the name of safety.
“Council has a duty of care to try to ensure the safety of the public,” Mr Jones said.
“One of the biggest problems with opening the access roads to Mount Canobolas to 4WD vehicles is the narrow width of the road, with a guard rail on one side and an embankment on the other.
“It becomes very difficult for oncoming vehicles to pass when the road is so slippery. There is an added complication with a considerable number of people walking up the road. If one vehicle starts to slide, it could put pedestrians at significant risk.
“While council has no doubts the operator of the 4WD tours is an extremely capable driver, not all drivers of 4WD vehicles have the same ability.”
Cabonne Council won support for it’s lockout policy from Orange State Emergency Services volunteers, who have experienced a significant drop in the number of call-outs to rescue people from stranded vehicles since the installation of gates, controller Kim Stevens said.